Ralf Rangnick paid tribute to Cristiano Ronaldo after his hat-trick saw off Norwich 3-2 but is concerned Manchester United are too over reliant on the star.
Ronaldo netted twice before the break but his side led 2-1 after Kieran Dowell pulled a goal back just before the interval. And Teemu Pukki drew the Canaries level seven minutes after the resumption. United looked all at sea and there was an uneasy atmosphere inside Old Trafford.
But up stepped the Portugal captain to fire home a trademark free-kick from distance. It was the former Real Madrid star’s 50th career club hat-trick.
At the other end, David de Gea pulled off a few superb saves while Norwich were in the ascendancy. And the Spaniard’s display did not escape his manager’s eye.
“It was vital. The 2-0 lead should have made life easier but we didn’t defend well. David de Gea kept us in the game,” he told BBC Sport. “It was highly important we won the game but the way we played was not good enough. It is a question of intensity and physicality.”
However, it was not too long before the conversation turned to the main man.
“Like against Tottenham, Ronaldo was very crucial,” he added. “They weren’t easy goals, it was just outstanding.”
Rangnick worried by lack of support for Ronaldo
The jury is still out on whether or not it was wise to bring Ronaldo back to the Theatre of Dreams.
There is a school of thought that it has unbalanced the side. But he was the difference between the teams against the East Anglians.
The veteran has now scored two hat-tricks in his last three Premier League outings. And Rangnick is worried that his Manchester United team-mates sometimes sit back and just expect the legend to score.
“We should not only rely on him,” he continued. “We played well at times but we sometimes slowed the game down and didn’t make use of overlap situations on the wing. Defensively I was not happy at all.
“The results elsewhere were good. But it doesn’t make sense to look to other results. We need to raise our game.”